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Why it's time to reconsider FileMaker

FileMaker has a long history and for some they pigeon hole the software as a tool they used to use on Mac's long ago.

For those that don't know the software, it's a database tool that runs on Windows, Mac OS X and iOS. It's easy for businesses to develop their own solutions - at an elementary level to replace paper forms with electronic, but at a more complex level to create a fully integrated CRM solution.

These days a huge amount has changed. Version 14 is completely geared toward mobility and is being enthusiastically embraced in the ANZ region, according to Joel Katz, FileMaker APAC managing director.

Katz joined the company back in February of this year, and has the primary role of leading the company’s growth in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

He says, “Mobility is absolutely a key area of focus for us.”

When it comes to ANZ, mobility is front and centre with the vast majority of customers. The reception of FileMaker 14 here has been ‘extremely positive’, says Katz.

This version of the software has been primed for the mobile world with a makeover of FileMaker Go, the iOS app.

“The look and feel of the FileMaker Go UI now has a more modern iOS look and feel which translates into a better user experience,” says Katz.

Developers can make solutions full screen by using scripts or swiping to hide the user interface.

They can lock in portrait or landscape views using the new set-screen orientation, display information when capturing signatures, enable touch keyboards and richer text formatting, and use new video and audio playback controls to create self-paced training applications and other solutions.

Furthermore, Katz says FileMaker is seeing customers use version 14 as a platform that ‘fills in the gaps between disparate systems’.

For instance, Katz says he is seeing many customers utilising a variety of 'off-the-shelf' products like Xero for Accounting, Deputy for Shift Management and Vend for POS. 

“FileMaker provides the platform for our customer to get their own custom App out on the iPad/IPhone relatively quickly and at a lower cost than custom programming/development,” he says.

Along with an enhanced iOS app experience, FileMaker 14 brings a number of features that are geared toward mobile devices.

This include a streamlined script workspace, a redesigned FileMaker WebDirect that brings desktop-style interactivity to mobile browsers on tablets, a new launch centre with an app-like interface, and many new features for developers, power users and administrators.

In ANZ the FileMaker developer community is very healthy, according to Katz.

In fact, while the US has 1.16 FileMaker Business Alliance members per one million people, the ANZ region has about 2.24 members per one million people, says Katz.

“We have a very strong community of developers with a huge breadth of experience on the FileMaker platform. 

“We host regional FileMaker Developer Alliance meetings and the attendance is always close to 100% [of our developers],” he says.

On the release of version 14, Ryan Rosenberg, FileMaker vice president of marketing and services, says, “FileMaker 14 is the culmination of 30 years of helping customers exploit the latest platforms - from Mac and Windows then through iOS devices and mobile web browsers today - meeting users’ rising expectations for data accessibility, simplicity and mobility.

“With FileMaker 14, creating compelling cross-platform solutions and designing for the times is simpler than ever - even if you’ve never developed any solution before.”

It may well be the time for those in IT to have a fresh look at Filemaker.